How oral health is linked to general diseases

link between oral health and general disease

Good oral hygiene does not only allow you to have a beautiful smile and avoid cavities. It also protects our body against malicious bacteria present in our mouth. More than you can imagine, oral health and general health are closely linked.

Poor oral health can have unsuspected repercussions on the rest of our body. Indeed, our general condition, our well-being and our relationships to others may be impaired due to poor dental health. That's why we have to take care of our teeth to avoid serious complications.
In this article, I will introduce you to the general diseases related to oral health.

Oral health and general health: underestimated links

Oral health is a mirror of our general health, yet many people neglect this relationship. The tooth is a vascularized and innervated organ, it is not excluded from our general circulation. So, it is not surprising to see a generalized dental infection, which is called "Septicemia".
Beyond daily well-being, poor oral health can, according to the World Health Organization, increase risks to general health. WHO highlights that some oral diseases are a risk factor for a number of general diseases, including:
  • Cardiovascular illnesses;
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory infections;
  • Diabetes;
  • Alzheimer

Link between oral health and general diseases: which mechanism?

Certain micro-organisms present in our mouth can reach our blood circulation and thus be involved in various forms of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary infections, septicemia ...
In addition, dental diseases make it more difficult to stabilize blood glucose levels, which is a real problem for diabetics.
Basically, dental diseases are related to imbalances in the oral ecosystem. Some oral bacteria can be dangerous if they pass into the bloodstream. The weaker the person's immune system is, the higher the risks associated with general diseases.
Many international studies confirm the links between oral health and general health. Regular visits to the doctor and early detection can overcome these diseases.
I will present 5 complications that oral diseases can have on our general health:

Cardiovascular diseases

Oral bacteria have the potential to be much more toxic in case of imbalance, causing inflammation of our vessels. Bacteria would be the enemy of our arteries.

Our mouth contains bacteria that are supposed to be our allies. However, if you do not brush your teeth with the right technique, virulent bacteria can dominate leading to more severe complications.
In case of gingivitis, the bleeding gum can carry bacteria to the general circulation. Blood clots can stick to the artery walls and block the blood supply to the heart and brain.
These bacteria will favor the formation of plaque at the arterial walls blocking the circulation. Worse than that, these bacteria are able to live in these conditions which will aggravate the problem if any treatment has been considered.
In order to avoid the proliferation of these bacteria, the best solution remains a good dental hygiene that can have positif effect on our cardiovascular health.

General infection

Septicemia or general infection means infection of the whole body by severe bacteria. The mouth is the most favorable gateway.

In advanced caries, the bacteria reach the pulp (which represent the center of the tooth) irrigated with blood. Through the pulp, these bacteria can reach the general circulation leading to septicemia.
In the same way, gum disease can lead to septicemia. Bacteria responsible for gingivitis and periodontitis can reach the circulation.
Oral hygiene is essential to prevent this type of complication. Brush your teeth twice a day, for three minutes, and do not forget to use dental floss, avoid sugary foods and make regular visits to your dentist.

Oral health and Alzheimer

A bacterium named Porphyromanas Gingivalis, very common in gum disease has been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Experiments on the mouse showed that the bacteria could move from the mouth to the brain, which increased amyloid production. This molecule is present in the characteristic plaques of the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
Gum disease could have consequences for your mental health.
Currently, there are inhibitors of neurotoxic proteins produced by these bacteria that can reduce the rate of it and thus save our neurons.


oral health and diabetes

Several mechanisms may explain the influence of periodontitis on glycemic control. It appears that periodontal infection can increase the mediators of inflammation and thus exacerbate insulin resistance.

It has been shown that diabetic patients with periodontitis have a higher risk of poor glycemic control compared to subjects without periodontitis.
According to studies, diabetics regain better control of blood glucose levels after periodontal treatment. The improvement in blood glucose is thought to be due to a decrease in inflammation after treatment, which results in a decrease in mediators of inflammation.

In addition, it appears that diabetes is a risk factor for gum disease. Diabetics are 2x more likely to get gum disease.

Oral health and pregnancy

oral health and pregnancy
Links between pregnancy and periodontal health are bidirectional; pregnancy can affect periodontal health, while periodontal diseases may influence the course of pregnancy.
Pregnancy is characterized by physical, hormonal, metabolic and behavioral changes. These changes may have implications for oral health.
Since the 1990s, several studies have shown a significant association between periodontal disease and premature labor.
It seems that the bacteria responsible for gum disease and their toxic products can penetrate the placenta. These products stimulate our immunity which can lead to an increase in the rate of mediators of inflammation. These inflammatory substances may be at the origin of placental involvement and premature delivery.
Early management of these diseases and oral health control during pregnancy would be beneficial in preventing some type of premature delivery.